Long standing theories about the effects of man made chemicals on wildlife have been validated by a new study on fish in the United Kingdom. A four year study, led by the universities of Brunel and Exeter, shows the resulting damage brought about by EDC’s (endocrine disrupting chemicals) on fish populations. EDC’s are found in everyday products like hand soap, plastic containers, birth control pills and hormone replacement drugs, among others.
Fish in the study were found to have their ability to reproduce diminished by nearly 80% due to exposure to the endrocrine disrupting chemicals. “Clearly this raises concerns about the implications on the future for wild fish populations living in UK rivers, but there’s also much wider issues raised by these findings. Some of the effects seen in fish could occur in other animals too as hormone systems are quite similar across all vertebrates,” said Charles Tyler, from the University of Exeter’s Biosciences department. “EDCs have been tentatively linked with human health impacts too, including, falling sperm counts and cardio-vascular disease. These findings remain more controversial,” Added Tyler. “In contrast, we have shown, unequivocally that environmental oestrogens alter sexual development in fish and now, through this study, that this can impact on their ability to breed”. “Fish still share many biological links with humans and the fact that their reproduction has the potential to be affected by EDCs is certainly a cause for concern. From a risk assessment point of view, these results are very significant,” concluded Tyler.